City eyes sewer rate increase

By GAYLE COULTER State Journal Staff Writer Published:

Residents could start paying $4 more per month for their sewer bills in February 2004 if a new city sewer plan is implemented as proposed.

City commissioners listened at Monday night's work session to Sewer Director Bill Scalf explain what will be needed for the plan to work when the city takes over sanitary sewer and common lateral lines.

Previously, a lateral line connecting a home to the public sewer was the homeowner's responsibility for maintenance and repair. One of the problems, Scalf said, discovered by those on the Sewer Task Force Committee was that work done for individual homeowners wasn't being inspected by anyone.

The proposed plan calls for the city to take over operations of the laterals at an estimated cost of about $600,000, Scalf said.

Scalf said that even though the new fees would be assessed in January 2004 with collection set to begin in February, his department will not be ready to make all the repairs to lateral sewer lines that are currently needed.

"There are several hundred smoking guns waiting for the sewer department when this happens," Scalf said. "The day this is implemented, I cannot repair all of these laterals."

Commissioners proposed making a priority list of the laterals that need repair with the understanding that lines with no flow would always top the list.

For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.

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